To Complain Or Not To Complain, That is The Question

13 Reasons Why I Decided To Stop Complaining

How do you make yourself feel when you complain? What is the impact you make on others when you complain? Have you ever complained about someone who complains? Is complaining a benefit or a hindrance in a business conversation? 

Admittedly, when I’m not paying attention, I slip into complaining—it’s so instinctively easy. However, when I’m able to catch myself, I can put myself in a much better position to forward the action in a conversation, and empower myself and others.


When you greet some people with, “How are you?” they answer, “I can’t complain.” My first thought is always, “Oh, I’m sure you could.” Now, I'm not saying there aren't reasons to complain, we can all come up with lots of reasons. Moreover, there are many people who advocate strongly for their right to complain, but that's an article for someone else to write.  

Here are 13 reasons why I am I committed to stop complaining:

  1. It is off putting. Think about it: do you want to work with a person who complains all the time? Are you drawn to this person or pushed away?
  2. Do you want to add negativity to your work environment? Dennis Prager said, "Complaining not only ruins everybody else's day. It ruins the complainer's day, too. The more we complain, the more unhappy we get."
  3. Complaining about the amount of work you have to do, for example, could make people think you might not be able to handle it. Complaining diminishes people's perceptions of your capabilities.
  4. Does complaining make you a good role model? Imagine that your colleagues respect you and are looking to you for your leadership. Do you really want to model complaining? We have a responsibility to set a good example for those we work with. 
  5. Attitudes are contagious. Other people may join you in complaining and may even try to top your complaints—a race to who has it worse. For example, they might say: “You think you've got problems, listen to this, my problems are worse than yours...”
  6. Complaining is the antithesis of being grateful.
  7. Eckhart Tolle said: "When you complain, you make yourself a victim.  Leave the situation, change the situation or accept it.  All else is madness.”
  8. It is disempowering. It gives your power away to the thing you're complaining about. It's blaming how you feel on something you may not have any control over. This is not to say that you shouldn't voice your opinions, but there is voicing your opinion in a constructive way or a negative way. Obviously, complaining is negative.
  9. Complaining lowers your self-esteem. As you relate to the world inside of the interpretation "something is wrong", you think less of yourself and your inability to overcome what is "wrong".
  10. Complaining doesn't actually solve problems. It's problem oriented versus solution oriented. Time spent complaining could be better spent working to improve your situation. 
  11. Whatever you focus on grows in your awareness and experience. Oprah Winfrey said: "Be thankful for what you have; you'll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don't have, you will never, ever have enough."
  12. It is wasted breath. Keep in mind that while you are using your breath to complain, someone else is using their last breath... ever. 
  13. Because you can. With awareness and practice you can monitor your inner complaint machine and stop honoring it. You can turn any complaint into a challenge or benefit. You can complain the rose bush has thorns or you can be grateful that the thorn bush has roses. 

My invitation to you: pay attention to the complaints that automatically come out of your mouth. Listen to what you are saying. You can reframe any situation such that you are empowered by your circumstances. You're worth it.